Strike up the band: The historic Band Box Diner gets enough money to stay open


It looks like a historic Minneapolis diner will continue to flip burgers after a last-ditch attempt to stay open.

The Band Box Diner raised over $5,000 on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe in just about five days, surpassing its goal just before 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday evening, the fund had about $1,200 – so donations went up significantly overnight.

Brad Ptacek, the owner and chef at the Eliot Park neighborhood diner, needed the money to buy a new commercial grill because his 1985 Vulcan was on its way out. Ptacek wrote on the fundraising website, "If it reaches the end of its useful life, we are out of business."

And loyal patrons were happy to chip in.

One of the last of the 117 donors, who gave $5, wrote: "The Band Box got me through college, sometimes with free cheeseburgers, when I needed them. They are the best. Keep this awesome space GOING!"

The diner has quite the reputation among Minnesotans, with City Pages naming it its best diner in 2013, describing it as the No. 1 spot to get a greasy-spoon fix in the Twin Cities.

The diner's history

The Band Box has a rich history in Minneapolis. It's the last survivor of 14 prefabricated diners that were opened by Bert and Harry Weisman in the 1930s, according to the Star Tribune. The Eliot Park Band Box Diner has been the only one in the city since 1972, MPR News reports.

The chain of diners became a gathering spot for people from all walks of life following their launch because they were open all night, and even became favored haunts of local gangsters, the City of Minneapolis website says.

The diner was designated as a historic landmark in 2000 by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission.

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